Electric Light Orchestra - Time (1981)

OK, “Time” might not be the most challenging album you’ll ever hear, but it is a masterpiece of symphonic pop, and a fine concept album. Jeff Lynne gathers together some of his strongest compositions ever, adds some delightful orchestration, and comes up with an album full of tracks which stand up well as great pop songs individually. Where "Time" really succeeds though is that the songs come together to form an album which demands to heard as a complete piece.

It may seem sacrilegious to mention “Supper’s ready” in the same breath, but the basic idea is the same, a number of individual pieces segued together with occasional recurring themes, to create a much stronger whole. The main difference here is that virtually any of the tracks would have enjoyed success as a single.

After the brief overture of "Prologue", we dive straight into the totally infectious "Twilight", and the mood for the album is set. "The way life's meant to be" has more than a hint of George Harrison about it, "Hold on tight" is a Wizzard like romp through a wall of sound, and "Here is the news" has some truly inspired satirical lyrics.

There are several slower ballad style songs, of which "Ticket to the moon" is the highlight. This pained sci-fi love song bemoans the fact that the ticket is "just one way", Lynne giving one of his most emotive performances ever. "21st Century man" paints a reflective picture of the future (now the now!), while "Another heart breaks" is primarily an instrumental piece, broken only by the repeated title.

There is a real temptation to dismiss "Time" as a pop album, and to judge it on a superficial basis. To do so is a real injustice, this is a truly superb piece of work by any standards. Lynne's attention to detail is constant throughout, indeed, it is ironic that were it not for the fact that his compositions are so commercially successful, he would undoubtedly gain far more recognition as a musical genius. - Review by Easy Livin (Bob McBeath)

Track Listings

1. Prologue (1:15)
2. Twilight (3:35)
3. Yours Truly, 2095 (3:15)
4. Ticket to the Moon (4:06)
5. The Way Life's Meant to Be (4:36)
6. Another Heart Breaks (3:46)
7. Rain is Falling (3:54)
8. From the End of the World (3:16)
9. The Lights Go Down (3:31)
10. Here is the News (3:49)
11. 21st Century Man (4:00)
12. Hold on Tight (3:05)
13. Epilogue (1:30)

Total Time: 43:38

- Jeff Lynne / lead vocals, backing vocals, electric & acoustic guitars, piano, synthesizers
- Richard Tandy / piano, electric piano, synthesizers, guitar
- Bev Bevan / drums, percussion
- Kelly Groucutt / bass guitar, backing vocals
Releases information

LP/CD Jet Records FZ 37371 (US) (1981)


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